In a gushing feature for Golfweek magazine, writer Martin Kaufmann explores the exciting atmosphere developing around the Santa Maria Hotel and Golf Resort, which is drawing golf fans from around the world.
Beyond loving the golf scene, Kaufmann clearly feels for the charms of Panama city.
“Santa Maria is a microcosm of Panama, which is buzzing with activity and optimism,” Kaufmann writes.
We’ve seen this reaction before. A visitor doesn’t know much about Panama beyond the Canal and then they are shocked by the energy and growth of Panama City. Santa Maria, located minutes from downtown, is drawing a new generation of golfers who love the convenience and location of playing a championship course designed by Jack Nicklaus in such a spectacular setting.
Visitors can “pick up their bags at Tocumen International Airport, be on the first tee at Santa Maria in less than an hour, play 18 holes and if they’re feeling ambitious, still have time to catch a $12 Uber into Panama City for dinner,” Kaufmann notes.
Beyond golf, he was introduced to the Panama success story. “Panama’s economy has been one of the world’s strongest in recent years, and that is reflected in our surroundings,” he wrote as he played around. “Now, soaring condo towers, retail destinations, and office buildings line broad boulevards in a master-planned community along the Pacific.”
Panama has become “an isthmus of stability in a turbulent region,” Kaufmann writes. In addition to the growth of the Canal, Panama has one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, with the World Bank reporting that Panama’s average annual growth rate over the past five years is 5.6 percent, he noted.
“I left Panama with the sense that the country is a fascinating Central American secret,” the author wrote, “just waiting to be unraveled by adventurous tourists looking for something more fulfilling than 36 daily holes of trophy golf.”
Read the full article here